Sun, Sep 14, 2008 - Page 5 News List

‘Enemies of Afghanistan’ kill governor with bomb

RISING VIOLENCEThe leader of Logar Province and the former minister of martyrs and disabled ‘has been martyred’ in his car along with his driver and a guard

AFP , KABUL

An Afghan governor was killed yesterday when a bomb blew up his car near the capital Kabul, government officials said, blaming the attack on the “enemies of Afghanistan.”

It was not immediately clear if Abdullah Wardak, governor of the province of Logar, near Kabul, and a former cabinet minister, was killed by a suicide attack or a roadside bombing.

The Logar police chief, Ghulam Mustafa, said the governor was struck by a suicide car bomb near his home in the Paghman area near the city.

“He was targeted by a suicide bomber in which he, a driver and a police [guard] were martyred,” Mustafa said.

The governor had apparently been on his way to parliament, he said.

The interior ministry said it was a roadside bomb.

“This morning his car hit a bomb on the side of the road. The governor has been martyred,” spokesman Zemarai Bashary said.

He blamed the attack on the “enemies of Afghanistan” — a term Afghan officials use to refer to Taliban militants and other extremists or criminals behind a wave of violence.

A body handling provincial governments also said the blast was caused by a roadside mine.

“It was a deliberate attack,” said Abdul Malik Sidiquee, deputy head of directorate of local governments. “It was the work of the enemies of the country.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Wardak, a long opponent of the Taliban, was the first provincial governor to be killed since the September 2006 assassination of the governor of eastern Paktia province, Hakim Taniwal.

Taniwal was killed in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Taliban.

Wardak was a former commander in one of several Soviet resistance factions and the minister of martyrs and disabled in the 2002 to 2004 transitional government established after the ouster of the hardline Taliban regime.

Logar Province has seen a rise in Taliban activity in recent months, including the Aug. 14 killing of three Western women aid workers and their Afghan driver as they were driving to Kabul.

The killings, claimed by the Taliban, were the deadliest in years involving international aid workers.

The Taliban were in government between 1996 and 2001, when they were ousted in a US-led invasion launched when they did not hand over their al-Qaeda allies after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

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